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Tag Archives: mystery

Lord of the Flies is a classic piece of literary history documenting the rapid descent of a group of English schoolboys into chaos after being stranded on a tropical island.

Fyre Festival was a disaster of a different sort, with many promises being made to the would-be attendees about an island music festival that would never actually happen.

Goldy Moldavsky’s new YA novel, Lord of the Fly Fest is a beautiful and terrible blend of these two, otherwise unrelated things. Our protagonist, Rafi, is a young and (hopefully) upcoming podcast host with a show called “Musical Mysteries.” She’s staked the success of her show’s second season on snagging an interview with River Stone, the hottest musical act to ever come out of Australia, and also a bad murderer, maybe. His former girlfriend, Tracy, disappeared, and he was the last person to have seen her. So Rafi spends every last dollar she has to be at Fly Fest, an upcoming music festival that everybody who’s anybody on the internet has been promoting. Arrival on the island quickly proves that everything involved with the preparation for the event has gone wrong. There’s no staff to welcome the guests, few tents for shelter, and nothing but an abandoned shipping container full of inedible “cheese” sandwiches for food. Worst of all? None of the musicians who were slated to appear have shown up. None, that is, except for River Stone.

So now, Rafi is faced with a quandary. Does she band resources together to contact the outside world and summon rescue? Or does she let things drag out in the hope of getting that exclusive interview with River, getting the big celebrity shot her podcast needs to get the big endorsement deals (and, y’know, maybe some justice for River’s dead [again, maybe] girlfriend, Tracy). She’s got to navigate an island full of upset social media influencers and makeup gurus to make her plan work, one way or another. But what if getting River out on an island without contact with the mainland is exactly what he needs to kill again? What really lies beneath the surface of Fly Fest?

Lord of the Fly Fest is brilliant, combining the satirical takes of Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens (I’m looking at you, fictional influencer/musician Hella Badid, and bland interchangeable Paul and Ryan) with the atmospheric tension of Agatha Christie. My utmost thanks to NetGalley and MacMillan for an eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Murderbot is back!

Martha Wells has crafted another spectacular novella in the Murderbot Diaries series. Taking place between the events of Exit Strategy and Network Effect, Fugitive Telemetry is another solid adventure for everyone’s favorite misanthropic SecUnit.

While trying to settle in aboard Preservation Station as Dr. Mensah’s bodyguard, Murderbot is having a difficult time adjusting. It’s not that it isn’t relatively happy to be somewhere outside of the Corporation Rim. It’s that Station Security isn’t pleased with the idea of a rogue SecUnit wandering around. With the various agreements in place to allow Murderbot to keep its freedom, it has almost no access to the security systems that it would normally rely on to do its job. No hacking of the station SecSystem, only a handful of drones to be able to deploy…

All of these things aren’t a real problem, as Dr. Mensah is fairly safe from Corporate assassination attempts on Preservation Station. This far from their territory, real action against her is unlikely. However, everything gets turned upside down when a dead body is found on board. There’s been a murder on the station, and Station Security needs Murderbot’s help to solve the mystery of who killed our victim and why. No witnesses, no camera footage, no DNA evidence. With only limited resources at its disposal, Murderbot must find a killer who might be a true rival in covering their tracks.

I love the Murderbot Diaries, y’all. I’ve read every one of these books since I first heard about All Systems Red back in 2017 and I have never been disappointed. Fugitive Telemetry is available on April 27th. If you’re a sci-fi fan, or just love mysteries, check it out.

My utmost thanks to NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for a fair review.

My name is Philip, and I’m a Sherlock addict.

I’m not going to gloss over facts here. The BBC has given Stephen Moffat (of Doctor Who fame) a big new playground, and he’s brought Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman with him.

For the uninformed, Sherlock is a modern interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous creation, Sherlock Holmes. A self-proclaimed “high-functioning sociopath,” Holmes is a brilliant (though socially impaired) consulting detective. When John Watson, former combat doctor and veteran of the most recent conflict in Afghanistan (a nice nod to the character’s history), is seeking a new place to live, circumstances lead him to sharing an apartment with Holmes. Hilarity and awesome ensue.

Each episode of the first two seasons (six episodes all together) is roughly ninety minutes long, and is inspired by one or more of Doyle’s original stories. There’s a clear respect for the original stories, despite the obvious changes that need to be made in keeping with the series’ modern setting. Holmes texts Lestrade, though rarely (if ever) from the same phone twice, John publishes his and Sherlock’s exploits on a blog rather than writing them all down (as he was the most frequent narrator of Doyle’s stories), etc. Of particular note is “The Woman” in season two’s opener, but you’ll just have to see for yourself.

The first two seasons are available on DVD and netflix. I need to watch them all again before season three airs, but due in part to Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch both being involved in The Hobbit, and Cumberbatch’s involvement in Star Trek Into Darkness, it may be some time. Latest reports have tragically hinted that it may be late 2013 or even early 2014  before new episodes are seen, as filming will now not begin until March. *sigh*

The one advantage to this? I now know that I have enough time to break out my complete Sherlock Holmes and read through all of the stories. I like this plan.

This is my entry for Sonia’s latest writing challenge. The summer competition gave us the goal of writing a short story (500 words or less) based on a photo. Here’s “Corn.”

 

Green is everywhere. It’s the first thing I see when I wake up. There’s been rain recently, and I can feel the moisture in the soil, smell it all around me. Rain’s scent lingers in the gentle breeze. The thunder’s rumble in the distance matches the one in my stomach, and I realize how far the storm has gone and how long ago my last meal was.

Corn. That’s the other overwhelming smell. Damp corn leaves. The corn is tasseled, but the ears on the stalks are still immature, still some time away from being ready for harvest. Good. I don’t have to worry about some poor farmer coming across me when I’m in this state. It’s unlikely that anyone will be coming through the rows this time of year, though. The stalks are far too tall for any wheeled vehicle to come through without crushing them, at least aside from a combine, and again, the maturity of the ears has already eliminated this possibility. I’m not certain where I am. The sun is still all but invisible behind the heavy clouds, but its position tells me that it is early evening. The worst of the storm must be moving on to the east of me, carrying with it more than any farmer would ever want. A heavy green tint to the rear of the storm system hints at the hail that lurks within. I turn my eyes toward more immediate dangers.

My backpack, or more accurately a backpack with my name on it, is on the ground, a row to my right. Examining it for any signs of tampering, I find none. It seems to be fine, so I open it. Inside, I find a flashlight, a jacket, a pocket knife, and a plastic bag with a piece of paper in it. The paper is folded four times and is written upon in black ink. The simple script reads “You have until sunrise tomorrow. You know what you have to do.”

I shrug and nod, fairly certain now that my every move is being watched, despite the apparent solitude.

Without further thought, I shoulder the backpack and stride into the green, vanishing between the rows. I leave boot prints in the damp earth behind me, following the setting sun.

I hope that I can make it.